Quinta do Quetzal is located in the heart of the Alentejo region, on the picturesque slopes of the town of Vidigueira, a short distance from the oldest Roman winery in the South West of the Iberian Peninsula. The microclimate and natural slopes of the area create the ideal conditions for a unique terroir, different to what you would usually find in the Alentejo. Schist based soil, varying levels of sunlight and differing altitudes, created by the rolling hills and plantations of old vines, are a unique combination for the region, breaking up the open plains of the Alentejo. The area around Vidigueira is generally sunny and warm, but its positioning on the foothills of the Serra do Mendro means it also gets plenty of cool winds that come straight off the Atlantic ocean. These conditions lead to big variations in temperature, giving the vines the heat they need to ripen the grapes, and then the cooling breezes they need to recover. The exceptional quality of these grapes leads to a limited production of wine in this region, but each drop of the wine produced transports you to the rolling hills and gentle breezes of the area in which the grapes were grown.
To really top off the Quetzal experience, we’ve recently added a new building with a restaurant, shop and art centre. The schist that covers the outer walls of the new building make it ebb and flow fluidly within the environment that surrounds it. To integrate it even further into its environment, the area around the building has been designed to incorporate local flora, maximising our visitors’ direct contact with the natural habitat of the Alentejo.
A FAMILY WINERY
Cees and Inge de Bruin are collectors and patrons of modern art. Although they are not Portuguese, the couple and their family have a strong relationship with Portugal, that began over 40 years ago. They are using the Quinta do Quetzal project as means of sharing their passion for Portuguese culture, nature, food and wine with as many people as possible. Every year they create a new exhibition at the Quinta, in collaboration with their daughter, artist Aveline de Bruin, in which the family’s own collection and connections within the world of art form a starting point.
THE PEOPLE AT THE QUINTA
Meet the winemakers that bring together ancient techniques, fertile terroir and the perfect grapes, and transform them into pure works of art.
Our resident winemaker
‘Only when the grapes reach their full potential can you make the highest quality wine. I smell, taste, sample and analyse them every day, so that I know exactly when they’re ready to be harvested.’
José Portela (1976) was born and raised in Torres Vedras where he studied winemaking. After finishing his degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Évora, he gained valuable experience working for several reputed brands in the Alentejo and Ribatejo before going back to the University of Évora in 2009 to do a post-graduate degree in oenology. He has been the resident winemaker at Quinta do Quetzal since it was founded.
Our flying winemaker
‘The vineyards are my palette, the grapes my paint, and the barrels my pencils! I strive to turn every bottle into a masterpiece.’
Rui Reguinga (1966) was born and raised in Almeirim, in the Ribatejo province, where he dreamed of a career in the wine business. His dream came true from the moment he finished his degree in Food Engineering at the Lisbon School of Agronomy, when he set off to work in the Champagne and Bordeaux regions of France. He then went on to work for several of the best-known brands in the major wine-growing regions of Portugal, and has worked as an advisor on various projects in Brazil, Argentina, Sri Lanka and Austria. Since 2010, Rui has been our flying winemaker here at the Quinta do Quetzal.
Our general manager
‘The quality of the soil, the perfect microclimate, a high standard of land management, handcrafted winemaking, and the perfect, motivated team; I make sure we have exactly what we need to create wine that deserves to be called art.’
Reto Jörg (1963) was born in the Netherlands to Swiss parents and has always had a close connection to agriculture and vineyards. After leaving University, he worked in Switzerland, Belgium, England and Argentina before coming to Portugal in 1986, when he started working in agricultural consultancy. He has designed and carried out several winemaking projects in the Alentejo, and has managed projects in Spain and Sri Lanka.
Since 2001, he has been responsible for the Quinta do Quetzal project. He also manages the development of the Quinta do Quetzal and Guadalupe brands and raises brand awareness in several markets.
Our consultant Chef
‘Cooking is largely based on intuition. It is something that comes from within, and my passion is for Portuguese cuisine.’
Pedro Mendes (1974) was born in Lisbon and stumbled into a career as a chef, having spent most of his life thinking he would be a lawyer. He began his career as a chef in Belgium, going on to travel around Europe, working in The Netherlands, France, England and Ireland. In recent years he has been both owner and chef of countless restaurants. He is a consultant chef and author of several books, one of which is ‘O Renascer da Bolota’ (‘The Acorn Revival’), published in 2013 and the first book about the culinary use of acorns to be published in Portugal. The book contains a collection of the chef’s own original recipes, which he shares with the world. He is heavily influenced by the food of the Alentejo, which he greatly admires.
Our Resident Chef
João Mourato was born on the 15th October 1995 in Portlegre in the Alto Alentejo region. He was brought up in the countryside, surrounded by the earth itself, cork trees, vines, olive trees and yellow fields of wheat. His childhood and these surroundings shaped João, as he always loved going for walks in the countryside and tending to the animals, the vegetable patch and the vines. Before he knew it, he was picking vegetables he had planted and was cooking them himself. He began working towards building a career as a Chef, and so, naturally, after having completed his course at the Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies in Portalegre (where he now teaches), and after doing internships at the Vila Vita Parc Resort & SPA and at the Grande Real Santa Eulália Resort (Algarve), he started work at the Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & SPA in Vila Viçosa. João Mourato has been the resident Chef at the Quinta do Quenzal Restaurant since 2016. His aim here is to bring together the memories and traditions of the country-living that so inspires him, with a culinary sophistication that reveals a palate created by the simple ingredients he gets from the ground itself.